Thursday, April 21, 2011


Airfare - check
Hotels - check

Ok, two things checked off, a million to go!

Still on the list?

Rental car for Ireland
Getting all the crap I need for the trip
Signing the dog up for training/boarding

Oh yeah, and the big one: Pay off the credit card. (Sad face to that one!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rough outline: Ireland

It's been difficult to draft our our time in Ireland because we're still so unsure of what we want to do and see. We know we want to rent a car at the airport when we get there, and we know we want to spend the first few days off the beaten path. So I'm sure this rough outline is going to change, but if I was the only one making decisions on this trip, here's what I'd do!

- Arrive in Dublin, rent car
- Drive to West Coast, taking our time and stopping along the way
- Arrive in Donegal around 4pm and spend the rest of the day in town

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rough outline: Siena & San Gimignano (v2)

Of all the days of the trip, the ones we've adjusted the most are the days we're in Siena and Tuscany. I'm really happy with how we've adjusted things, because 1) we now have more time with SAY and Dr G, 2) we're doing a few things that are new, and 3) we have lots of free time to just enjoy Italy and where we are!

- Arrive in Siena in the evening (bus or train from Rome is around 3 hours)
- Meet up with friends, check out Siena, wander around

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rough outline: Florence (v2)

I could spend an entire trip to Italy based out of Florence. It's been my home city away from home since I did a semester there during college, and I'm super excited to be heading back soon! We'll only have two nights there, so we'll be packing in quite a bit, but I think we'll still have time for everything.

- Arrive in Florence by bus late morning, check into hotel
- Uffizi gallery for Shorty - it's on her bucket list of things to do on this trip! I'm not sure I'll go in this time around, since I spend many extensive tours there when I lived in Florence.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rough outline: Rome (v2)

It seems like this trip is constantly changing!

But now that we have our itinerary set, at least in terms of airline flights, I'm going to revise the rough outline of a Rome itinerary from a few months ago.

It's actually fairly close to the same itinerary, with the adjustment that we don't get to Rome until late Thursday night, and have an extra night there at the end of the trip. Also, my friends who are getting married let me know that there's a rough plan to celebrate the Bride's birthday and everyone meeting up in town on the Friday night we're there!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A love letter to bella Firenze

View of the city from Piazza Michelangelo.

I've discovered in our recent trip planning that many people who have been to Italy either didn't enjoy Florence immensely, or could take it or leave it. It's rarely people's favorite city. And I can kind of understand - it lacks the romanticism of Venice and the vast history of Rome. It doesn't have a leaning tower or The Last Supper. It can be crowded, gets very hot during the summer, and is fairly industrial and dirty. The public transportation isn't as good in Florence as in other cities, and it's pretty pricey.

But despite all of those things, Florence remains my favorite city in Italy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Bus travel around Tuscany

As much as I love the train system in Italy, one of the places I didn't explore as much as I wanted to in 2002 when I lived in Florence was Tuscany. I know, crazy, right? Since it's RIGHT THERE? I didn't see as much of it as I wanted because I was young and new to travel and didn't like to go places I couldn't get to on a train. A train was safer, you see, because it had one place to go, and was pretty difficult to mess up with. Buses, on the other hand, were tougher - there were different timetables and schedules, where to get the tickets was always somewhat of a mystery, and there were rarely the convenient audio reminders of which station you were about to get to.

Bus travel in Italy requires a little more effort than train travel, but the benefits of getting to go to the smaller towns and locations were great.